Yesterday afternoon I was standing in line by the front desk of a casino hotel here in Lake Tahoe.
I had a backpack and a bigger bag. Atop the bigger bag was a copy of Sweetness, my Walter Payton biography. I don’t generally travel with copies of my own books (that would be odd), but sometimes when I’m working on a new project, and interviewing folks I don’t know, I’ll have one or two handy, just to show that I’ve got some background.
Anyhow, a couple was standing behind me on line. The man looked at the book. “That must be one helluva read,” he said.
“Yeah,” I replied. “You like Walter Payton?”
“Sweetness?” he said. “How can you not?”
That concluded our conversation. The receptionist called me to the desk, I handled my business. I started to walk away, then paused and extended the book to the man. “Keep it,” I said.
“Really?” he said. “Are you sure?”
“Really?” he said again. “You sure?”
“It’s OK,” I said. “I wrote it.”
It was as if the man had just won $100 million. “What?” he said. “You’re Jeff? Really?” He had no idea who I was—just saw my name on the cover. He asked the receptionist for a pen, requested my signature.
It was a lovely high moment, and had zero to do with the ego boost of someone holding your book.
Nope, it’s simply the joy of giving someone joy.